CEBU CITY, Philippines – "Are there those among you accepting bribes?"
This was the question of new Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 7 Director Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño to police officers gathered at the Cebu Provincial Capitol on Tuesday, July 5.
"Even worse, are there those among you on the payroll of drug lords?" Taliño added, speaking in Filipino.
Taliño spoke to at least 100 police officers at the provincial capitol, where officials released the results of the 5th "Limpyo Probinsya (Provincial Cleanup)." He said it should be the last "Limpyo Probinsya" operation.
Taliño, who previously served as officer-in-charge (OIC) of the Special Action Force (SAF), said his first goal as regional director would be to apprehend drug personalities identified by the PNP, and a reduction in crime.
While Cebu leaders and police have been intensifying operations against drug personalities, Taliño said he was disappointed with the performance of police in Central Visayas, which includes the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor.
"For 6 months, most of them failed to arrest even just one of the top 10 drug personalities in their area. As in zero. Just imagine that. I'm really disappointed," Taliño told reporters.
According to police data, 70 of 126 police stations in the region failed to arrest top drug personalities.
Taliño set Friday, July 8, as his deadline for concerned police officers to produce results. If not, they risk being relieved.
"If police and provincial directors don't do something, I will," he said.
'Knock and plead' drive
It's Taliño's first week on the job, and already, hundreds of suspected drug users and pushers have surrendered across the province.
"We will continue the 'tuktok-hangyo (knock and plead)' campaign," he said. Cebu police plan to coordinate with barangay officials to ask known drug users and pushers to stop using and dealing drugs.
Taliño said his first priority as regional director would be to cleanse the ranks of the police in Central Visayas.
"I would not hesitate to file a case against you," he said on the same day President Rodrigo Duterte accused 5 police generals of involvement in the drug trade.
According to Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPDAO) director Ivy Durano-Meca, Cebu authorities confiscated P11.21 million in illegal drugs in June alone.
"The next step would be to come up with an outpatient program. We will coordinate with the private rehab centers to help us and be a partner with the provincial government," Meca told Rappler.
The province will meet with the Department of Health (DOH) Region-7 on July 11 to discuss a plan to treat the drug users who surrendered. – Rappler.com